Christmas is a time for real giving

    Christmas is a time for real giving

     Yuletide is here folks; we’ve already had a smattering of snow in the UK and a sizeable drift here and there… and let’s face it; we all like a lovely winter scene at Christmas.

    Our digital marketing genius Michael tells us that even in South Africa, where the 25th of December is a day when the barbeques are sizzling and everyone piles off to the beach to celebrate in temperatures around 35 degrees, the decorations in windows, in shops and on Christmas cards often have snow on them!

    It’s all so romantic and lovely, chestnuts roasting on an open fire etc, etc and yes, it’s a time when families get together to swap gifts and eat more sprouts and chocolates than they do in the other 364 days combined…well sprouts anyway. Generosity abounds and people, even in the cities, smile and share seasonal greetings as a brief departure from the usual custom of walking past each other, earphones and smart phones depriving them of meaningful sight and sound.

    Yes; Christmas is a time for giving.

    But hang on a minute…what kind of giving do we mean, and how much does it all cost? Well according to recent data released by NielsenIQ, UK shoppers are preparing to spend an eye-watering £6.8bn at UK supermarkets over the next week or so.


    And that’s just on food, booze and deodorant. So we’re giving each other higher blood pressure and nice smelling armpits. And then there’s Amazon; let’s not look at the figures there, it might make you weep. Nike will sell their trainers at £150 a pop or you could get an iphone 12 Mini for £400 if you shop around, and then chuck last year’s phone and trainers into a landfill site.

    If you’re still with me…and not shouting ‘humbug’ at your device, please stick around for the rest of my rambling.

    I’m no scrooge, no party pooper and have been as guilty as anyone when it comes to Christmas excess. But surely we can give in a different way, in a meaningful way. It’s cold outside and in some places it’s cold inside. Thousands of homes in the north have been cut off from electricity for over a week and people are burning furniture and cooking on barbeques. But coldness brings danger for sick and elderly. So why not knock on your neighbour’s door and check they’re okay, and maybe take them a mince pie.

    At the start of the pandemic Shelter UK estimated that there were up to 280,000 homeless people in England, so if you think you’re a bit chilly, think again. The homeless charities and volunteers, the people who man the shelters on Christmas Day know what giving is all about.

    And then, think of the refugees, those who have perished trying to reach the UK and those who are still willing to risk all to reach a safe haven. Migration is a huge global issue and governments worldwide must find a solution, but showing humanity and caring is a responsibility for all of us. Through charities we can buy Christmas gifts for refugees, to help adults get through the winter months and give children a glimpse of what a childhood really should feel like.

    We shouldn’t give anything to make ourselves feel better, but real giving of anything, from the heart, will at least make someone happy.

    So there you go. Have a good Christmas everyone and a happy and healthy new year, and give whatever you want to whoever you want. I’m not trying to cause an economic crash here, but it doesn’t have to cost a fortune, it just has to mean something real.

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